62. Academy Driving with Alvin Ailey, 1st of 2
63. Academy Showmanship Adult WTC with Sultan’s Miracle Man (Sam), 2nd of 5
64. Academy Equitation Adult WTC with Sam, 1st of 5
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Thank you to the Wamble family and to Courtney Huguley their wonderful horses. A second thank you to everyone at Stepping Stone Farm who helped me transfer from cart to horse. Yes, you read the numbers right. Competing in three classes is awesome. Competing in three classes in a row comes with a side-order of extra awesome.
When Alvin charged into the ring, I managed to talk myself into being encouraged rather than overwhelmed. I hung on and let him do his thing. However, we may have displayed a little too much swagger. I got closer than I should have to various objects: the arena wall, the presentation sign, my Coach’s toes. The trophy for Academy Driving was a medal. The neck ribbons are never sized to go over helmets. In order to help, I leaned over, ducking my head, and probably throwing my hands forward. At which point, Alvin said, ‘Photos done. Victory pass here we come.’ The cart rolled off. Miss Courtney was forced to leap out of the way of the wheel. Note to self. Keep track of the cart. Always.
Between the driving class and long-lining Milton, I have been holding my reins for driving more than for riding lately. It took me half-way around the first trot to mentally switch back. Plus, I was in a different saddle than usual. This is not an excuse, I should be able to cope. But I didn’t have the standard cues that tell me I am sitting far enough back for saddle seat, i.e. stirrup leathers at my knees instead of behind.
These are minor quibbles. I felt strong, centered, and in control of my longitudinal balance [It’s About]. Not perfect, but a good effort for Academy equitation. I had all the pieces. Next step, put pieces together on command in the show ring.
Or, at least, I thought I had all the pieces. I liked my ride. Coach liked my ride. The judge liked my ride. I heard silence from the spotters around the ring. (Going to miss those in a dressage test. But I digress.) I was looking forward to some seriously snappy photos.
Not so much.
My position looks solid and effective. Competent, even. To my eyes, there is not a trace of equitation diva in evidence. Check out the winner of Class 80, UPHA Adult Challenge Cup, on Saturday night. That’s how a saddle seat equation rider should look.
Oh well, if I end up riding like a junior-grade trainer, that wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. As long as I end up riding with the ability of a junior-grade trainer.